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Tips for Designing Content-Based Language Instruction

In addition to the two techniques just mentioned, an important skill for teachers to develop is the ability to create measurable objectives that address both language and content. The literature provides suggestions for how this may be done, and many tools exist for this purpose. One of the most useful is Echevarria, Vogt, and Short’s (2017) Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, which helps to develop content-based language instruction by providing a thorough and pedagogically sound set of criteria. Another useful tool is the lesson plan outline used in the CoBaLT project database (Johnshoy, 2001). Each plan lists objectives for content and culture and then breaks language objectives into two categories: content obligatory, which students must use to complete the lesson, and content compatible, which are related language objectives that students can focus on. The lessons also include objectives for strategies and social development. To this set of objectives teachers can also add technology objectives that meet technology standards. In short, whether teachers formally document what their students need to learn using these  tools or use a less formal system, teachers of content-based language lessons must keep in mind both content and language objectives.


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Tips for Designing Content-Based Language Instruction by Joy Egbert and Seyed Abdollah Shahrokni is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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